A Thank You to Martin Luther King On Martin Luther King Day from an Autism Family

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hi, Friends! I'm going a little less DIY and decorating and a whole lot more Lifestyle on you today. As many of you know, we have a most precious child with autism. A few years ago, I wrote this post thanking Dr. King and honoring him for all of the great ways he has touched my life. Today, I'd like to honor him again. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I'll be eternally grateful for your contribution to the world, today and every day. 


I wasn't always as keenly aware of just how grateful I should be to Dr. King for his tireless efforts and contributions to the world we live in today. There was a time in my life when I rather ignorant of such things. I knew he was a great man. I knew he dedicated his life to greater equality for all, but I didn't understand how that affected me personally. I had never really felt the sting of inequality - I still doubt I feel it as acutely as those Dr. King was fighting for, but I have felt it. Having autism in my life changed my views on so many things. It goes without saying that I should have had more appreciation. I'm ashamed that I was that ignorant. But, like most of us, it wasn't until I lived it that I understood it. Funny thing about an understanding of your struggles, it opens your eyes to the knowledge of the possible struggles of others. Sometimes understanding is the most important thing needed for change.

Dr. King’s trials and sacrifices in the 60s created the dialogue necessary to pave the way for equality for all citizens, those with special needs included. We mustn't forget that not long ago, most special needs persons were institutionalized.  Deinstitutionalization didn't come in the 60s.. it didn't come until much later - the 70s - but it did come. There is still miles to go in the area of education for special needs students, but today, I feel it is important to appreciate the progress we've made. If you're interested, you can gather a better understanding of that progress here. Without Dr. King's contributions, we wouldn't have these advances. He opened the gateway. He made people stand up and start fighting for equality and against injustices.

 Just 50 years ago, my son would have been institutionalized, and all of the horrors that we now know went along with that. He would not have had the right to an education. I would like to believe that with the love I have for him, and my belief in his abilities if we'd lived in that time that I would be doing what I am right now. I'd like to think I'd be teaching him and reaching him on his terms - but the beliefs in those days make me wonder if I'd have understood enough to fight the system.

Dr. King's life and example not only gave us what he fought for - equality - but so much more as well. Through his example, he's given us all the courage to keep on fighting, to keep on trying, and to keep on striving for understanding, for ourselves and for those we love who aren't as able to fight for themselves.

When he said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals",  he could have been speaking directly to so many parents that I know and admire. Those who see the potential in their children and work tirelessly to harness it within them, and help others to see what they see.  He could have been speaking to so many children I know who get up every day and work towards their potential, struggling to fit into the world when they'd much rather stay lost in their own. And, he could have been speaking to me, reminding me that even though it can get a little rough, the road to greatness is rarely simple. Greatness requires one to keep on pushing.. keep on keeping on, but that we'll get there.

I don't know what my son will ultimately contribute to the world but, I know he will make a memorable contribution. And, I know that today, he gives so much more than he takes. I am so thankful to live in a world that, for the most part, sees that, and in one that allows him the opportunity to figure the rest out.  Dr. King, you are the reason for that, There are no words to thank you. So, today, I honor you and your life. And, thank you in all the ways I know how. Thank you.

Pantry Organization Refresh - The Silhouette Creators Refresh Challenge

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm slowly recovering from my so far Powder-room fail, both mentally and figuratively. One day I'll learn to trust my first instincts.. it would save so much time! In any case, it seemed like a superb time to focus on something else.. like my pantry and perfect timing for the January version of the Silhouette Creators Monthly Challenge. Many thanks to Cat of Pocketful of Posies for hosting. This month's theme was refresh! 

Believe it or not, this pantry was very organized just a few short years ago, but over time and as our needs have changed, it's become very unorganized indeed! 

Sometimes it can be really overwhelming to know where to begin when things get a bit out of control - it happens to all of us!  I have a 5 step process for most any kind of storage organization. They go something like this:

1. Evaluate what you need to store. 
2. Sort Stage 1: Determine whether to keep, relocate or dispose of each item. 
3. Sort stage 2: Sort into categories for storage. 
4. Organize! This is the part where you find containers shelving homes. 
5. Maintain. If you've found the right home for everything, this will be simple!    

In the case of our pantry,  the space and shelves are very deep which makes using the door impossible for much other than apron storage. If organized correctly, we have plenty of room for everything we need to store. The first step was realizing the problem we had was the containers we were using were either not properly sized for what we needed, taking up too much room, or not large enough to store what it needed to. Things had definitely gotten out of control! 

So much so that we've started moving into other cabinets to hold the overflow. 

Following my own process, step two sorting had me realizing how many duplicates I had and also that I had a few things that were a wee bit out of date. Like, ahem, one that had a best by date of 2012.. how?!  

After purging any expired foods, I sorted everything into categories that better fit our family's needs. Some were moved to smaller containers, some remained in the larger. 

For some categories, such as pasta, rice and bagged snacks, baskets from the Target dollar aisle were a perfect home. I added rope handles to the baskets to allow for easy opening on each shelf. 

Drawers were a great alternative for lunch snacks, making it simple to see what is available and what needs to be added to the shopping list. 

To complete the organization, I added vinyl labels for each container made on my Silhouette machine. I used the Harlow Solid Italic font in the Silhouette Studio and applied the vinyl to each container using transfer paper.  

I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to find everything again! Such a simple project that has made such a big difference in my every day!  

*This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience

How about you? How do you organize your storage areas? 

Thanks so much for stopping by and please be sure to check out the other refresh projects for this month's Silhouette Challenge! 

$100 Room Challenge - Week 2 - Losing the Battle

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hi, friends! Welcome back to the second week of the $100 Room Challenge! 

If you're just popping in for the first time, and aren't sure what the $100 Room Challenge may be, let me give you a quick recap. 

Some of my favorite bloggers and I will all be making over a room with a $100 budget in just four short weeks! Many thanks to Erin of Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry for putting together such a fun event! For more information on the $100 Room Challenge, check out my post from last week
If you're looking for the full story on what exactly a $100 Room Challenge is, Erin spells it out clearly, but I'll give you the paraphrased version. Pick a room. Make the room over in one month. Spend no more than $100. 

I am in the process of making over my much-neglected powder room. Last week I shared my inspiration board which included a lot of bold navy and green pattern with strong accents and I was feeling pretty good about my choices. 

Succulent Print - Minted // Umbra Wall Planters - Amazon // Mirror - Walmart // Hand Towels - Amazon // Rug - Amazon 

This week.. not so much! 

So, I really loved the greek key pattern in my inspiration board but I was having a difficult time finding a stencil in my budget range. I did, however, find this fun stencil that I thought would work just as well. 

To save time and materials I decided to go with a line pattern in green with gold and navy accents. Even though my heart was saying "No! Go bold!" I went with my head, which was saying "Go subtle, you'll have more flexibility."

I should have gone with my heart. 

I purchased the stencil for $12, and already had the paint pens I thought I would use, but when I started to stencil it out I really wasn't overly impressed, and neither was my husband. I wanted bold but the paint pen just made things look unfinished. 

Soo.. I'm going back to my original plan to go bold with paint. And although it isn't currently looking like I'd like it to, I have faith it will! Although it won't be as flexible and it might not have the staying power that something less bold would have, I will LOVE it instead of always looking at it like "meh.." I'm not really where I'd like to be, but I think I'm on the right track. I promise to have a LOT more progress to show you next week!  

Week 1 // Week 2 // Week 3 // Week 4

My current budget: 

Week 1: $0
Week 2: Stencil:  $12
Total remaining:  $88   

If you would like to follow along with the $100 Room Challenge, you can subscribe via email  HERE and never miss a post.

You can also find me on Social Media.

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Make sure you check out these other room makeovers! I bet many of these ladies are in much better shape than I am! 

DIY Rustic Starburst Wall Art

Monday, January 9, 2017

Wow, that weekend went by a little too quickly, didn't it? We received a whole lot of snow for our area over the weekend which had all of the kids screaming, "Yay!" all except for the youngest one. In his mind, it is mandatory that a snowman is built on a snow day. So far, the snow has remained too powdery to make one, despite our multiple trips outside to attempt to coax it into even a measly snowball. Tell me I'm not the only person thinking of googling "how to make a snowman with powdery snow"? The worst was when we'd just convinced him we'd try again in the morning, and my daughter came in singing "Do you wanna build a snowman..?". Seriously. Ah well, maybe we'll have better luck today - You know we're ready with carrot, coal, hat, scarf in hand! 

In between trips outside, I got in a little crafting and was able to pull together this fun, simple, DIY Rustic Starburst Wall Art for the January Create with Me DIY Challenge! This fun challenge is where you, our readers, vote on the materials we'll use for next month's projects, so be sure to scroll to the very last bit of this post to vote for your favorite before you go.

This month's challenge was to create something using natural wood: twigs, sticks, and other natural materials. I took this literally and went with twigs - at this time of year, our many trees and shrubs mean my yard has an overabundance of them in all different colors and textures. I love how they all come together in this starburst pattern in an almost ombre effect. 

I used thin branches from my crepe myrtle tree, azaleas, and our river birch. You don't want branches that are too thick or too brittle.. it will make it difficult to cut. 

*Affiliate links may have been used. Please see my full disclosure for more information. 

To create this Rustic Starburst Wall Art yourself you'll need the following: 

  • Foam board
  • A glue gun
  • Twigs 
  • Pruning shears
  • 1"x4"x6' pine (if adding a frame)
  • stain in your choice of colors
First, cut your foam board to size. I cut a 14"x22" piece in half. Then, cut your branches into 1" pieces. 

To create an offset starburst, draw a starting point in the bottom left corner, then glue a twig facing out from the center of my point. 

Begin gluing twigs about 1/2" apart in a spiral pattern, moving outward. Each line should be about 1" from the last until you've completed the entire board, leaving a 1/2" border around the edges.  

I chose to add a simple frame to my piece using 1"x4" scraps of wood and stained the frame with a dark mahogany stain.  

And that's all there is to it, except for finding a place to display it! 

I hope you can find time to make one on your snow day or hope you at least have better luck with your snowman! 

Now, we need YOUR help! Take the survey below and tell me what you want to Create with Me for February!